By Patrick L Opondi/Migori County-Kenya.
December 19, 2010
Thank you for showing interest in our country through the ICC on the plight of thousands of victims of PEV. We invited you and aided your efforts, because of our unquestionable confidence in the ICC process and because we did not have any mechanism in place equal to this enormous task.
I have chosen to write to you through this column, for I am unable to reach you at The Hague. I believe most Kenyans would like to meet and thank you for your bold move but are confined to remain silent for fear of reprisal. Though I did not suffer the direct impact of the violence, the emotional burden I shared with the rest of the country in 2008 and the economic burden that ensued persuade me to write to you. It presented us with a bloated and lame government, divided in the middle. Our government seems to grounded, due to internal supremacy battles, posturing and positioning for 2012, for beneath the surface, Kibaki succession plans are in top gear. ODM is always crying foul and suspicious of the PNU rivals, who are also watching every step they make. Owing to their game of political mischief, we cannot trust them with issues of this magnitude, touching the inner core of the ruling class.
Now that you have made your secret list public, we pray that you are not bullied into submission to relent in your pursuit of justice for PEV victims by local powerful forces. The same marauding forces have rendered our local courts incompetent and impotent. They have been able to tie the hands of the police, the army and the civil service behind their back as they rape and loot our nation. Justice has always been on sale, granted to the highest bidder. The wheel of justice in Kenya is slow, punctured and agonizing. It will take years were this case tried locally.
Your name will be subject of prolonged discussion, smeared in mud but don’t be intimidated. They will shout to rally their kinsmen and even in use it as an avenue to amass wealth from the poor, but they will only appear at local rallies, not at The Hague. Streets demos will soon filter away, after people shouting themselves horse. Don’t be swayed and intimidated by the upcoming roadside shows, often stage managed.
Within the corridors of power here exist impunity, in bold. It is this type of lame argument which has shielded impunity for far too long, which saw parliament sink too low to gag your efforts. If a people have such disdain and lack of support for the well intentioned efforts of the international community, they are most likely not to accord the same to any local institution, set by them and supervised by them.
How long does it take a country and its leadership to put its house in order? As a nation, we are on the periphery of collapse, in matters of governance and justice. Four years after the grisly 2007 election and with the same divided and disgruntled government, PEV issues have been shelved, only revisited aggressively when your list resurfaced. A call to establish a local tribunal is lip service, deceitful, ill conceived attempt to fool the internationally community and set pace for grand cover-up. Through you, I appeal to the international community to stand and support the Kenyan poor, the PEV’S.
If you want a brief on how we fair on matters of justice involving the so called â€˜fat cats”, ask the courts on how they have fared on corruption, land grabbing and nepotism. You have drawn the names of Mathura and Major- General Ali to your infamous list. In all respect, you have brought shame to the doorstep of harambee house, the seat of our powerful government. It is an intimidating institution by our local standards and local instutions will cower in fear, if they were to subject the office of the president in such a trial. We just lack a local capacity manage a trial of this magnitude, as we move close to a general. It will be paralyzed, just like many commissions whose findings have never been made public.
The ICC must move on with its timetable, without entertaining noise emanating from Nairobi.
Since 1991, election violence has revisited our country each time we head to the ballot box, with the same leaders at the helm. They have played tribal card, either against each other or for their benefit. Because we have set our self tribal perimeters to govern ourselves, cases of electoral malpractices are not taken seriously, for fear of tribal uprising. It is for this reason that we have lot of faith on an external arbiter, an institution we can cannot manipulate and meddle on its process. To borrow a line from one of the law maker who has beaten a hasty retreat, “don’t be vague, it is The Hague”. This is the people’s position.
As you begin to argue your case, be reminded we are faced with yet another general election in 2012. The same forces at play 5 years ago, if unpunished will wreck havoc even of a greater proportion. As I write to you, PEV victims are living in camps, unsheltered from perils of the hrash weather, with no food, sanitation or schools for their kids. Even money from well intentioned institutions that was to relieve their pains has filtered into private hands. Those wh lost lost ones or were maimed during the skirmishes have been left to fend for themselves.
Occampo, these people are crying and yearning for justice. But their justice will not come from within, for we lack the mechanism, the political goodwill and time. Justice here is not for them, but for the ruling elites, who now intend to use all resources at their disposal to defend themselves, while there is none for the victims.
In my final submission to you, I wish that this trial will be guided by law and evidence, to be seen to be fair. I believe you are equal to the task and ready to help us put our country on the right track.